Since 1997, you’ve been coming to BarnesandNoble.com to discuss everything from Stephen King to writing to Harry Potter. You’ve made our site more than a place to discover your next book: you’ve made it a community. But like all things internet, BN.com is growing and changing. On May 1, we’re saying goodbye to our community message boards—but that doesn’t mean we won’t still be a place for adventurous readers to connect and discover.

Now, you can explore the most exciting new titles (and remember the classics) at the Barnes & Noble Book Blog. Check out conversations with authors like Jeff VanderMeer and Gary Shteyngart at the B&N Review, and browse write-ups of the best in literary fiction. Come to our Facebook page to weigh in on what it means to be a book nerd. Browse digital deals on the NOOK blog, tweet about books with us,or self-publish your latest novella with NOOK Press. And for those of you looking for support for your NOOK, the NOOK Support Forums will still be here.

We will continue to provide you with books that make you turn pages well past midnight, discover new worlds, and reunite with old friends. And we hope that you’ll continue to tell us how you’re doing, what you’re reading, and what books mean to you.

Reply
Distinguished Correspondent
emmagrace
Posts: 162
Registered: ‎12-04-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

That is an intersting thought April! I had not considered that! Thanks for bringing that to our attention!
Inspired Wordsmith
eadieburke
Posts: 1,925
Registered: ‎01-27-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

Why don't you ask Katherine your questions? Maybe her answers would help to clarify your feelings. I feel there are logical explanations for your questions but I think to verify them the answers need to come from Katherine.

thewanderingjew wrote:

rkubie wrote:

I'd like to invite everyone to share which of your predictions and suspicions were most accurate and/or most far off base?  (I was impressed by some insightful statements in earlier threads).

 

I was totally off base about Connie since I did not think of her as kind of a sorceress but rather as a natural, gifted healer. I assumed the book was more reality rather than fantasy based. Boy was I wrong!

 

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral?

 

I didn't think of Chilton as evil, at first. Later on, when it becomes obvious that he caused Sam's illness, I thought perhaps he was a "warlock" since we were reading about witches, but I rejected that because I didn't think it was really going to turn out to be a book about "witchcraft" but rather about superstition. Then I thought he was driven insane by his lack of success in his research. I never thought about the chemicals he was working with in the lab. His appearances and behavior defied reality at times, so that threw me off. I mean, how did he get to Granna's house so quickly? How was he able to poison Sam's drink? How did he appear in the library when the lights were out? He seemed to know too much and he seemed to come and go like a shadow yet he didn't seem magical to me, just mean, so I wasn't totally drawn into that part of the story.

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

 

I don't think we can tell that until time passes. None of the other males escaped.

 

What is Connie's relationship to the Milk Street house now?

 

Since Grace is living there, I assume she will just be a visitor to the house now. I think that Connie and her mom will probably grow closer since she will better understand her mom and where she is coming from. Perhaps they will learn from each other.

What do you see in Connie's future?

 

I think Connie and Sam will marry. Connie will have a child who will also be a "witch" etc. Maybe there will be a sequel following the generations in the model of the Anne Rice tradition.

 

If I now presume that, according to the book, there really are witches, and the book does depart from the historical facts of the trials, then I have to ask why, if Deliverance and Mercy possessed such "real" magical powers, were they not able to stop the witch trials with some kind  of a "real" magic spell and at least save Deliverance?

It also seemed odd to me, that the multiple generations never seemed to join forces and work together to effect cures or change or spells. It was almost as if only one could use the power at a time. Otherwise, why didn't Grace help Connie? She could see it coming so why couldn't she warn her more effectively? Why couldn't she help her conjure up the cure for Sam and help her ward off Chilton's attack? I have so many questions...sorry.

twj       



 

Eadie - A day out-of-doors, someone I loved to talk with, a good book and some simple food and music -- that would be rest. - Eleanor Roosevelt
Distinguished Wordsmith
pjpick
Posts: 1,043
Registered: ‎03-16-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

For me, I wasn't all that surprised the book was misfiled as a cookbook. My mom uses the word "receipt" all the time when she writes recipes but will use the recipe when she speaks--sort of odd.  It sort of fit into the story for me, I couldn't figure out why Connie couldn't figure it out but she and I don't have the same mama!

 

I was curious (and might have missed) what exactly the symbol on the door stood for. I know Grace alluded to the fact that it could be there for protection but I would have liked a little more explanation  or closure regarding it. And if was there for protection it sure didn't keep Chilton out of her house even if Connie "summoned" him on some level. Did I miss it??

 

As for characters, I would have liked to have seen more inclusion of her buddy Liz. Liz was so smart and could have helped with all that Latin and added a deeper demension to the story. Maybe Liz will have her own novel next time.

 

I also wonder if Sam has escaped "the curse". I don't think the other men in the line died of "fits" so it makes me wonder what else could be out there for him.

 

All in all, I enjoyed the novel. Having been raised in the West I know very little about the witchcraft area of American History (I didn't even know what a familiar was until I saw The Golden Compass). I would recommend it to friends.

Correspondent
meme1
Posts: 106
Registered: ‎12-17-2007

Re: Whole Novel

   'd like to invite everyone to share which of your predictions and suspicions were most accurate and/or most far off base

I expected to learn that Connie has special abilities that she didnt realize she possessedI felt that Connies mother was trying to let Connie become aware of her own abilities with only gentlenudgesfrom her(Connies mother).:smileywink:

 

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral

Chilton seemed to be so concerned with himself and the perception others in his field of expertise  had of him that he was willing to do whatever it took to maintain and regain this perceptionI would see this need as apoisonthat doesnt allow him to think rationallyI dont think that he had special abilities to cause spells; he just had to use poison as his method of pushing Connie along.

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

This is hard to tell because he is not officially connected to the familyWill we find out in a sequel?:smileysurprised:

 

What do you see in Connie's future?

The romance version would be that she and Sam are marriedThat, of course, would lead into the possibility of the curse affecting him - and Connie.  

meme

~~ Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly.

~~ Be careful reading health books. You may die of a misprint. Mark Twain
Distinguished Wordsmith
Zeal
Posts: 258
Registered: ‎03-18-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel


JerseyAngel wrote:

I had said before that I didn't think the author would end the book making us wonder about Sam. That either he would die now or she would find a way to break the curse. Unfortunately, I was wrong. I loved this book and that was the one thing that left me disappointed. I know Katherine says she plans another book but I thought she said it was going to be actually a prequel (Deliverance's life before she was tried as a witch). So until, and if, she writes another book about Connie, we will be left to wonder if the curse will eventually claim Sam's life.

 

As for Chilton, I think he just went off the deep end. His obsession over his work became more then just getting credit but about his own desire to find this big discovery in life. It eventually destroyed him. Even if Chilton tried to tell the doctors what happened that day with Connie, they would probably think the poisons had effected his mind & caused him to go a little crazy.

 

I think Connie has found a new found appreciation for her mother & part of that connection is Milk House. I was so happy to find that Grace kept it after finding out how it came to be in the family. Such a big piece of their own personal history!

 

I think Connie's future will no doubt still be academic based but now, with her better understanding of her mother, she will embrace her new powers & learn more about them. I think her mind will forever be open to new things & she won't be so easy to close off to things she doesn't understand.

 

I have to say the actual hanging of the women was heartwrenching. The way Katherine described the scene, you felt as though you were there, standing next to Mercy. You could feel the emotion & picture them all as they stood, waiting to be hung, having rotten vegetables thrown at them. I think it was one of the most impactful pieces in the book that will stay with me for some time.

 

Stephanie


 

I agree with almost all of your thought, especially the heartwrenching (excellent word for this) hanging scene, but I have to disagree with your thoughts on the ending of the book.  I think Katherine gave us enough to conclude our own thoughts about the future of Connie and Sam.  Sam will obviously recover, and their relationship will continue.  Sometimes, the best endings are when the author gives just enough to satisfy the reader, but allows for speculation as well. 
"I learned to dream through reading, learned to create dreams through writing, and learned to develop dreamers through teaching. I shall always be a dreamer."
Sharon Draper
Correspondent
floreader
Posts: 95
Registered: ‎09-15-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

My predictions about Chilton were the closest to being correct.  I was suspicious of him right from the start and thought he would play the bad guy role in the story.  I thought he wasn't evil, but was an amoral person who didn't care who he hurt to get what he wanted.  He became crazy in his obsessive search for the book and the philosopher's stone.

My predictions were the most off-base about Grace.  I thought she was going to just be an uncaring, neglectful mother, but that turned out not to be the case.

My favorite passages of the book were the witch trials and hangings.  The story really jumped off the page and I felt like I was there, experiencing the horror.

In Connie's future, I see her and Sam continuing their close relationship.  I see Connie becoming closer with her mother, now that she understands her family history.

Inspired Bibliophile
thewanderingjew
Posts: 2,247
Registered: ‎12-18-2007
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

You make a good suggestion but I think I would feel kind of awkward asking Katherine the questions I have raised because she obviously wrote the book they way she wanted it written and that is her prerogative. They are really just questions from my personal perspective on the book, for the purpose of our discussion.

I would have liked certain issues resolved because I like more clarity but I feel it would be presumptuous of me to ask her to explain when she obviously didn't feel that need or she would have done it. Maybe she is thinking of sequels and therefore left it open ended in places. Maybe it is just her writing style.

twj


eadieburke wrote:
Why don't you ask Katherine your questions? Maybe her answers would help to clarify your feelings. I feel there are logical explanations for your questions but I think to verify them the answers need to come from Katherine.


thewanderingjew wrote:

rkubie wrote:

I'd like to invite everyone to share which of your predictions and suspicions were most accurate and/or most far off base?  (I was impressed by some insightful statements in earlier threads).

 

I was totally off base about Connie since I did not think of her as kind of a sorceress but rather as a natural, gifted healer. I assumed the book was more reality rather than fantasy based. Boy was I wrong!

 

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral?

 

I didn't think of Chilton as evil, at first. Later on, when it becomes obvious that he caused Sam's illness, I thought perhaps he was a "warlock" since we were reading about witches, but I rejected that because I didn't think it was really going to turn out to be a book about "witchcraft" but rather about superstition. Then I thought he was driven insane by his lack of success in his research. I never thought about the chemicals he was working with in the lab. His appearances and behavior defied reality at times, so that threw me off. I mean, how did he get to Granna's house so quickly? How was he able to poison Sam's drink? How did he appear in the library when the lights were out? He seemed to know too much and he seemed to come and go like a shadow yet he didn't seem magical to me, just mean, so I wasn't totally drawn into that part of the story.

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

 

I don't think we can tell that until time passes. None of the other males escaped.

 

What is Connie's relationship to the Milk Street house now?

 

Since Grace is living there, I assume she will just be a visitor to the house now. I think that Connie and her mom will probably grow closer since she will better understand her mom and where she is coming from. Perhaps they will learn from each other.

What do you see in Connie's future?

 

I think Connie and Sam will marry. Connie will have a child who will also be a "witch" etc. Maybe there will be a sequel following the generations in the model of the Anne Rice tradition.

 

If I now presume that, according to the book, there really are witches, and the book does depart from the historical facts of the trials, then I have to ask why, if Deliverance and Mercy possessed such "real" magical powers, were they not able to stop the witch trials with some kind  of a "real" magic spell and at least save Deliverance?

It also seemed odd to me, that the multiple generations never seemed to join forces and work together to effect cures or change or spells. It was almost as if only one could use the power at a time. Otherwise, why didn't Grace help Connie? She could see it coming so why couldn't she warn her more effectively? Why couldn't she help her conjure up the cure for Sam and help her ward off Chilton's attack? I have so many questions...sorry.

twj       

Contributor
VeraC
Posts: 24
Registered: ‎03-13-2009

Re: Whole Novel


I'd like to invite everyone to share which of your predictions and suspicions were most accurate and/or most far off base?  (I was impressed by some insightful statements in earlier threads).

 

I was most far off about Grace.  Although I didn't share Connie's frustration with her - I thought she was a rather interesting free spirit - I certainly didn't think she was going to be as influential in Connie's life and this story as she turned out to be. I ended up considering her a wise woman... instead of the ephemeral character I first thought she was.

 

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral?

 

Chilton is so driven on furthering his career that he has lost all perspective of right and wrong. I don't think he started out as an evil person, or even amoral. I just think that when you live in a bubble (in his case, academia) in pursuit of the one thing in the world that matters to you, you lose your humanity and become a monster.  Which is what I see him as... a monster of his own creation.

 

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

 

I think that Sam will survive this time, but he is doomed in the future.  This time, his near-death experience was driven by a man - Chilton, so I don't think this was the real thing. The curse itself will come around as his relationship with Connie continues. In order to keep this line of witches going, they have to procreate... and then the curse kicks in.

 

What is Connie's relationship to the Milk Street house now?

 

The Milk Street house will provide Connie with her roots and sense of destiny. The house will stay in the family for generations to come. We never really found out why Connie was previously so shielded from what her family was (unlike Mercy, for instance) - Was it just her mother's particular parenting style? - but I think that she will be more open with her own daughter.

 

Can you share your favorite passages and characters with the group?

 

Like many others, I really liked Sam. Intelligent and down-to-earth, with a smattering of romantic. He has a master's degree but yet works with his hands. Plants seeds of thought but doesn't push his opinion.  Sigh...

 

I have two scenes that I enjoyed the most. First was at the beginning when we were privy to what Connie was going through during her oral exam. If we didn't see this vulnerability in her then, I doubt that I would have warmed up to her character until much later in the book.  Secondly was the scene of Deliverance's execution. I found so much to be compelling in this scene: the depth of her daughter's love for her, the courage of the two women, my hope until the last minute that Deliverance would somehow magically be spared, my revulsion at the reaction of the crowd. Truly a great scene.

 

What do you see in Connie's future?

 

Connie is just the latest link in this family line. She will give up academia and focus on using her powers to help people, although in a different way than her mother (I'm not quite sure how this was manifest itself in her, but it will be in keeping with her generation.). She will have a daughter and the cycle will continue. Just because she managed to stop Chilton's intents doesn't mean that she has stopped the lineage. The next generations will have their own challenges and their own "Chiltons."

Frequent Contributor
MomforrestMO
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎03-10-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

I loved the book!! The characters were well thought out and developed.  I agreed with the thought that Prof. Chilton probably started out with good intentions but greed and fame took their toll.  I felt that Arlo was the needed catalyst for Connie to come to "full" power and realization of true self.  Connie like others do not realize their full potential but a crisis can move them to that realization.
MomforrestMO
Distinguished Wordsmith
MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Whole Novel

[ Edited ]

Good Afternoon Everyone,

 

  Here are my answers to the questions regarding the Whole Novel. 

 

  What is your conclusion about Chilton-- why has he done what he's done?  Is he evil?  Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight?

 

  I think that Chilton was actually aware of Connie's family history because of her studies and her entrance to Harvard, and saw a way to further his own research.  Up until that point, I believe that Chilton was at a dead end with his research, and would have done anything to prove his point and save face amongst his peers.

   This may point to his presumed evilness towards Connie.  I remember one part of his description stated he had the eyes of a serpent (my thought when I read that, was the eyes of a snake).  So yes, I would consider him as evil.

   As for being poisoned, I don't believe that is the case.  Chilton, in my opinion, could not bear the fail in his research, and lost sight of reality, therefore he was not thinking straight. 

 

  Has Sam escaped the curse?

 

  On this, I'm not sure,  He has definitely been saved for the moment by Connie and the use of her newfound powers, but a curse may still be lurking in the shadows.  Sam and Connie have not made the ultimate commitment, in the way of marriage with a daughter as yet.  When a sequel is written by Katherine, (hint, hint), we'll have to wait and see if Connie will be able to use her powers to get rid of the curse.

 

  What is Connie's relationship to the Milk Street house now?

 

  Again, I believe that the Milk Street house will continue to be an important part of Connie's life, as well as her mother's.  It gives Connie a comfort zone, so to speak.  A place to go to get away from the hectic world of Harvard and people in general.  

  Connie will continue to develop her new found powers and the Milk Street house is the best place for her to be able to do just that.  Besides, Arlo loves it there.

 

  Can you share your favorite passages and characters with the group? 

 

  I certainly can do that.  

 

  My favorite passage is located on page 36, when we first hear about Connie's daydreams.  It starts like this:  "  Connie stared at the flowers dappled by the sunlight, her eyes widening.  As she watched the flashes of light play upon the surface of the pedals, her mind loosened, grew soft, moving into the daydream, and she thought that she perceived the image of an older man, dressed in muddy work clothes, stooped under the weight of a canvas bag stuffed with firewood and kindling, truding through the shadows.  Lemuel ?  A voice called out, audible only in Connie's mind.  Comin Sophier !  The image called back before it pulled apart, the details of the daydream dissolving out of her reach.  She was brought back to herself by the sound of Liz asking a question."

  This one passage had me sure that there was some sort of a connection between Connie and the past.  Something like ESP in reverse.  As for my favorite characters, I'd say Connie, Sam, Liz and of course Arlo.

 

  What do you see in Connie's future?

 

  I see Connie completing her research with a possible position at Harvard.  Also I see a marriage to Sam in the future and of course children.  Connie is going to continue to develop her powers and she is going to grow closer to Grace.    On did I forget to mention the Grace is also one of my favorite characters?

 

 

Message Edited by MSaff on 04-21-2009 05:41 PM
Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
Scribe
DSaff
Posts: 2,048
Registered: ‎10-19-2006
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

Nice post, VeraC. I especially like your thoughts on Chilton.


VeraC wrote:

I'd like to invite everyone to share which of your predictions and suspicions were most accurate and/or most far off base?  (I was impressed by some insightful statements in earlier threads).

 

I was most far off about Grace.  Although I didn't share Connie's frustration with her - I thought she was a rather interesting free spirit - I certainly didn't think she was going to be as influential in Connie's life and this story as she turned out to be. I ended up considering her a wise woman... instead of the ephemeral character I first thought she was.

 

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral?

 

Chilton is so driven on furthering his career that he has lost all perspective of right and wrong. I don't think he started out as an evil person, or even amoral. I just think that when you live in a bubble (in his case, academia) in pursuit of the one thing in the world that matters to you, you lose your humanity and become a monster.  Which is what I see him as... a monster of his own creation.

 

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

 

I think that Sam will survive this time, but he is doomed in the future.  This time, his near-death experience was driven by a man - Chilton, so I don't think this was the real thing. The curse itself will come around as his relationship with Connie continues. In order to keep this line of witches going, they have to procreate... and then the curse kicks in.

 

What is Connie's relationship to the Milk Street house now?

 

The Milk Street house will provide Connie with her roots and sense of destiny. The house will stay in the family for generations to come. We never really found out why Connie was previously so shielded from what her family was (unlike Mercy, for instance) - Was it just her mother's particular parenting style? - but I think that she will be more open with her own daughter.

 

Can you share your favorite passages and characters with the group?

 

Like many others, I really liked Sam. Intelligent and down-to-earth, with a smattering of romantic. He has a master's degree but yet works with his hands. Plants seeds of thought but doesn't push his opinion.  Sigh...

 

I have two scenes that I enjoyed the most. First was at the beginning when we were privy to what Connie was going through during her oral exam. If we didn't see this vulnerability in her then, I doubt that I would have warmed up to her character until much later in the book.  Secondly was the scene of Deliverance's execution. I found so much to be compelling in this scene: the depth of her daughter's love for her, the courage of the two women, my hope until the last minute that Deliverance would somehow magically be spared, my revulsion at the reaction of the crowd. Truly a great scene.

 

What do you see in Connie's future?

 

Connie is just the latest link in this family line. She will give up academia and focus on using her powers to help people, although in a different way than her mother (I'm not quite sure how this was manifest itself in her, but it will be in keeping with her generation.). She will have a daughter and the cycle will continue. Just because she managed to stop Chilton's intents doesn't mean that she has stopped the lineage. The next generations will have their own challenges and their own "Chiltons."


 

 

DonnaS =) " Reading is a means of thinking with another person's mind; it forces you to stretch your own." Charles Scribner
"A book is like a garden carried in the pocket." Chinese Proverb
My blog: http://bookworm56.blogspot.com
Frequent Contributor
MomforrestMO
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎03-10-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

Sorry really bad thought not Arlo but Sam!
MomforrestMO
Frequent Contributor
MomforrestMO
Posts: 26
Registered: ‎03-10-2009
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

Sorry corrected my original post.  :smileysurprised:

 

I loved the book!! The characters were well thought out and developed.  I agreed with the thought that Prof. Chilton probably started out with good intentions but greed and fame took their toll.  I felt that Sam was the needed catalyst for Connie to come to "full" power and realization of true self.  Connie like others do not realize their full potential but a crisis can move them to that realization.

 

I really did like Arlo but Sam was a better character for romance.  The refernce to the Celtic tatoo was interesting, does it mean he maybe more open to the possibilities to Connie's "powers".

 

 

 

MomforrestMO
Distinguished Correspondent
PB684
Posts: 182
Registered: ‎08-03-2007

Re: Whole Novel


rkubie wrote:

I'd like to invite everyone to share which of your predictions and suspicions were most accurate and/or most far off base?  (I was impressed by some insightful statements in earlier threads).

 

In the very beginning of the book I had the feeling that Arlo was magical (pg 25..."He chose you! Liz insisted, and Connie smiled at her roomate's unabashed sentiment.)

I was surprised to find that nothing came of the connection between the lawyer Saltonstall (pg.57) and the dorm of the same name where Connie and Liz lived. I also expected there to be a reason why Connie always dreamed of snakes (pg. 135).

 

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral?

 

I think the pressure of trying to stay on top of his game pushed Chilton over the edge. Probably working with those chemicals helped to further his insanity...otherwise he couldn't possible think he would get away with poisoning Sam.

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

 

Unfortunately I don't think Sam has escaped the curse. Prudence knew about the curse and tried to prevent it from happening by giving the almanac away and that didn't save her husband. Maybe the fact that Connie actually performed a spell to save Sam will make the difference but I'm not sure we've heard the last of "the curse"!

 

What is Connie's relationship to the Milk Street house now?

 

I'm so glad the Milk Street house is going to remain in Connie's family. I don't think Grace ever really meant for it to be sold. I foresee Connie raising her daughter there someday and passing along her family's gifts.

 

Can you share your favorite passages and characters with the group?

 

I would have to say my favorite passage is when we know for sure that Arlo is not just any dog (pg. 239 "Arlo leapt leisurely off the bed,wandered into the second attic bedroom, and settled on the other, older four-poster bed. Flopping down with a sigh, the creature dozed, feet twitching, as the sunlight lengthened through the window of the second bedroom. Once the light reached the headboard the dog vanished, leaving a dust billow on the quilt in his wake, reappearing a few minutes later at the doorway to the kitchen..." and also pg. 362 "Then he moved away from the headstone where he had been sleeping, and when the man glanced back to scold him again, the creature seemed to have disappeared...the first letter of the name on the headstone might have been a D."

 

What do you see in Connie's future?

 

Magic:smileywink:

 

PB684:smileyhappy:

 

 

 


 

PB684
Correspondent
bookowlie
Posts: 177
Registered: ‎04-15-2008

Re: Whole Novel

I would say that my predictions were correct that Chilton would be an evil force in the story and that he would play a large role in the plot.  However, I originally thought that he was going to turn out to either be a warlock or a descendant of one of the characters from the 17th Century.  That prediction turned out to be totally off base.

 

I was a little disappointed that a few of the characters from the first few chapters, Liz and Janine Silva, basically "disappeared" from the rest of the story, except for a minor part at the end.  I thought they would have had at least small supporting roles throughout the story.

 

I don't think Chilton was evil.  He was just an amoral person who became obsessed with getting what he wanted.  I think his stature at the university made him feel that he was entitled to get whatever he was after, no matter who he hurt along the way.

 

My favorite character was Chilton.  I kept changing my predictions about him during the story.  We all have known a "Chilton" type of person - an intimidating boss or professor.  I kept wanting to find out what he was going to do next.

 

I think Sam escaped the curse.  When Chilton started having the seizures, I think the curse transferred to him.

 

My favorite passages in the story were the interlude sections.  They were very realistic and I felt like I was right in the middle of the story.  The witch trial scene and the hangings were excellently written.  My favorite character was Chilton.  He was a

 

I think Connie and Sam continue to get closer.  Connie probably gets along better with her mother in the future, now that she understands the family's secrets.

 

 

 

Correspondent
nicole21WA
Posts: 79
Registered: ‎03-22-2009

Re: Whole Novel

I don't believe Sam has escaped the curse for two reasons.  1) Connie was able to save Sam.  The other women who likely had stronger powers didn't save their partners, so why should we believe that Connie's situation is different?  2) None of the men died until a child had been conceived.  Until Connie and Sam have a child, Sam will be safe from the curse.  I think that if Howe writes a sequel (and I hope she does), it will involve a pregnant Connie realizing that the curse will now kill Sam as it has with every previous generation and she will try to stop it from happening.

 

As for Chilton, I don't feel he is evil now that I've finished the book.  He likely became insane from the poisoning that happened during his many experiments and no longer understood how wrong it was to poison Sam in order to further his career.  Unfortunately, it seems Chilton actually was correct in his assumption that Connie needed such motivation to finally get off her ass and seek out the physick book. 

Distinguished Wordsmith
MSaff
Posts: 272
Registered: ‎10-19-2006

Re: Whole Novel


aprilh wrote:

I wanted to put this out there and see what everyone else thought. On page 331, while Mercy is visiting Deliverance in jail, Deliverance tells her, "it is written in the New Testament, in Matthew, that God came down and spoke to Peter, saying that upon this rock shall his church be built. It is you who are Peter, my daughter. You are the stone on which the church is built." When Professor Chilton turns up at the Milk Street house, wanting the shadow book, Connie tells him the book will not work for him. He screams, "It has to work! The philosopher's stone is the conduit! It is the medium for God's power here on earth! The rock on which God's church is built!" (pages 352-353) Could Mercy have possibly been the missing link in the philosopher's stone? Or maybe the house Deliverance had built on Milk Street?

 


   aprilh,

 

  You bring up a good point.  At the time of Deliverance's hanging, I believe that Mercy is the last living female in her family line, and Deliverance is telling her that it is up to Mercy to continue on, and to keep the line going.  

 

Mike
"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind." Dr. Seuss
http://travelswithcarsandbooks.blogspot.com/
Inspired Correspondent
libralady
Posts: 159
Registered: ‎09-23-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

I think my prediction of Professor Chilton was the most accurate.  I knew from the moment we were introduced to him that he was up to no good.  I think he was an opportunist and he wanted to make a name for himself not matter the cost.  His interest in Connie and her research was totally self serving.  I have to say that he got what he deserved in the end. Also, I think he needed to do something to gain respect in his academic circle.  From references earlier in the book, he was always in the shadows never in the limelight.

 

I totally reversed my opinion of Grace.  In the beginning, I felt that she was flighty and scatter brained.  But now I think that she chose a more modern way to deal with her witchcraft or "special powers".  I think she knew that Connie needed to discover her "gift" on her own otherwise she may not have accepted it or even believed it.  She sent Connie to the house on Milk Street because she knew it would be there that Connie would come face to face with who and what she really was.   

"Sow today what you want to reap tomorrow"
Distinguished Correspondent
Jennmarie68
Posts: 127
Registered: ‎02-09-2009

Re: Whole Novel


rkubie wrote:

I'd like to invite everyone to share which of your predictions and suspicions were most accurate and/or most far off base?  (I was impressed by some insightful statements in earlier threads).

 

As I read I tend to make many guesses as to what is going to happen, and while with this book I was pretty spot on with most of them I still enjoyed it greatly. I won't list all my predictions, but I think I had some of the major things pinpointed from the begining (like Chilton wanting to steal Connie's work.... I was actually surprised that I was right on that one!!)

 

 

What is your conclusion about Chilton--why has he done what he's done? Is he evil? Poisoned, so that he isn't thinking straight? Is he just amoral?

 

I think Chilton is simply reaching the end of his career and maybe is feeling like he is going to be left behind in his field. While I don't think he was a good person I don't know that had he been in different circumstances that he would have tried what he did. 

 

Has Sam escaped the curse?

 

I think that Connie's actions may have "paused" the curse. I have a feeling that the rest of his and Connie's lives will be filled with other trials and experiences that may put Sam at risk, but now that Connie knows she can save him she will probably be able to interviene just as she did in this case. 

 

What is Connie's relationship to the Milk Street house now?

 

I would guess that there is a connection now between Connie and the Milk Street House and with Grace living in the house she probably will be visiting the house quite often.

 

Can you share your favorite passages and characters with the group?

 

Oh there are so many pages in my copy that are earmarked because they were great but I guess I won't repost the whole book. Here are just a few of my favorites:

 

Page 27: "Perhaps Connie preferred to avoid discussing her mother because her own origin characterized Grace's fundamental lack of planning."  I think this passage shows even more the growth that Connie experienced through the book. At the begining of the book we almost get a feel that Connie despises her mother, yet as she learns about Deliverance and her family we see the bond between Connie and Grace grow. 

 

Page 76: "That you can have this whole entire life, withall your opinion, your loves your fears. Eventually those parts of you disappear. And then before long all that's left is your name in some ledger. This Marcy person - she had a favorite food. She had friends and people she disliked. We don't even know how she died." I loved this passage because it shows that life is precious while you're liviing it but eventually all lives kind of bleed into a simple "history of people". I guess it's not all that remarkable of a passage, but I think it kind of embodies our lives. We are people, and once we are gone we are nothing more than someone's memories and eventually we're just someone who has lived.

 

What do you see in Connie's future?

 

 Because I grew so attached to Connie I want the best for her, but in reality the best is not always what we get in life. I do think that her career will be fruitful as she made quite a discovery with the Physick Book. I hope that her and Sam live a nice life together and that she has escaped the curse. But I think most importantly Connie has gained a relationship with her mother that hadn't existed before. I think that over time their relationship will mend itself and they will be able to have a great relationship. I also think that Connie is going to allow herself to take on some of Grace's abilities.

 


 

Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.

Eleanor Roosevelt
Frequent Contributor
Sassy398
Posts: 56
Registered: ‎11-03-2008
0 Kudos

Re: Whole Novel

Chilton at the start gives the impression of being  dedicated  to his profession, but as

time goes on, he just get weird and  yes, I too think greed and too much magic gotten

the best of him.

 

Sam is going to be just fine, because Chilton had endured the illness that Sam had.

 

Connie is finally at peace with the Milk Street house, and happy that her nad Grace

have a stronger mother and daughter bond, now that Grace ahs moved back to the

area.

 

As for Connie's futrue...I see wedding bells!!!